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APC Narcissism Dr. Ramani Durvasula, PhD


Dr. Ramani Durvasula
is a licensed clinical psychologist in Los Angeles, CA, Professor Emerita of Psychology at California State University, Los Angeles, and the Founder and CEO of LUNA Education, Training & Consulting.  Her academic research was focused on the impact of personality and personality disorders on health and behavior. She is an author of multiple books including Should I Stay or Should I Go: Surviving A Relationship with a Narcissist, and "Don't You Know Who I Am?": How to Stay Sane in an Era of Narcissism, Entitlement, and Incivility. Her work has been featured at SXSW, TEDx, MedCircle, Red Table Talk, the Today Show, and Investigation Discovery, and she has spoken around the world on the impact of narcissism on mental health, relationships and the workplace. She also operates a popular YouTube channel and podcast (Navigating Narcissism). Dr. Durvasula is also working with PESI on the development of an educational program on working with clients experiencing the fallout of narcissistic relationships. 



Maladaptive personality styles, particularly antagonistic patterns such as narcissism, can significantly complicate assessment, treatment, and long-term management with individuals living with substance use disorders. Relational and intrapsychic dynamics such as denial can present as part of both substance use and antagonistic personality styles, and we also observe significant interpersonal disruption which will impact treatment engagement and relapse management. Very little empirical research has addressed the overlap between narcissism or NPD and substance use, however, most clinicians recognize that these patterns can complicate treatment significantly. Nonetheless, formal assessment of personality variables as a part of treatment planning is often lacking. This presentation will provide an overview of narcissism, including the AMPD formulation offered by DSM, relationship dynamics, developmental and etiological issues and the overlap between narcissism and substance use disorders.  We will also review the overlaps and discrimination between narcissism and antisocial personality disorder/psychopathy.  The various “types” of narcissism will be covered to better delineate the nuances of the personality style and how that may relate to addiction and substance use.  Other dynamics such as shame, saving face, and validation seeking as part of the recovery process will also be addressed.  Working with narcissistic clients who are managing co-occurring substance use remains a significant challenge for clinicians, and can raise a sense of helplessness, frustration, and other potentially problematic counter-transferential dynamics. Intersectional issues related to race, social class and economic status will also be addressed.  Tips for maximizing clinician efficacy in working with this population will be addressed, as will the important of realistic expectations not only for the clinician but also for family and other stakeholders.  


Learning Objectives:

At the conclusion of this activity, learners should be able to:


  • Recite existing diagnostic definitions of narcissistic personality disorder, as well as conceptualizations of antagonism, the alternative model for personality in the DSM, and narcissism overall. 
  • Recognize “subtypes” of narcissistic presentations, particularly grandiose, vulnerable, malignant, and communal, and consideration of overt vs. covert grandiosity.
  • Explain the relationship between narcissism and substance use/addiction including the role of dysregulation and impulsivity, and etiological issues. 
  • Apply knowledge of the assessment, management and treatment issues raised by narcissism into practice when treating patients with substance use disorders.
  • Recognize barriers to treatment and management of substance use disorders raised by narcissism, and implement tools to optimize treatment of patients with substance use disorders. 
Course Access

Requirements for Successful Activity Completion:

In order to successfully complete this activity and obtain your Certificate,

please follow the steps below:

Course Content


1. View the recorded presentation (60-75 minutes).




3. Click Evaluation to complete the course evaluation.


4. Following your completion of the evaluation, you must select and claim your preferred certificate type on the next page. Once claimed, a download button will appear in your transcript. If you do not see the download button or can not access your certificate, return to the course evaluation and claim your preferred certificate.

Post Survey


5. 90 days following your completion of this activity, you will receive a survey (2 questions) to ask about changes in your practice.


Availability: On-Demand
Expires on Mar 09, 2027
Cost: FREE
Credit Offered:
1.5 Attendance Credits
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Funding for this initiative was made possible by cooperative agreement no. 1H79TI086770 and grant no. 1H79TI085588 from SAMHSA. The views expressed in written conference materials or publications and by speakers and moderators do not necessarily reflect the official policies of the Department of Health and Human Services; nor does mention of trade names, commercial practices, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.

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